News Releases

Murray Condemns Abduction, Mistreatment of Nigerian Women

May 06 2014

Joins All Senate Women Urging White House to Consider Additional International Sanctions Against Boko Haram

Today, Senator Patty Murray and all twenty Senate women today sent a letter to President Obama condemning the abduction and mistreatment of more than 200 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and calling for additional international sanctions against the organization. Boko Haram has threatened to sell the girls as slaves, and reports suggest that some may have already been sold into child marriages.

“We are outraged and horrified that these young women have been kidnapped, sold into slavery, had their education curtailed, and may even have been forced into marriages,” Senator Murray and her colleagues wrote. “Education is a basic right for boys and girls who deserve an equal opportunity to pursue their education without fear of violence or retribution—no matter where they live. The Senate women stand united in condemning this reprehensible crime and are firm in our resolve that it will not be tolerated. We will not stand by and allow the Nigerian people to continue to be terrorized by Boko Haram and will continue to lead the effort to impose tough economic sanctions against this group.”

The United States government has designated Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and has reported that the group has links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). In their letter, the Senate women urge President Obama to press for additional international sanctions in the United Nations Security Council, compelling a greater number of countries to join the United States and others in imposing their own sanctions.  

“We condemn these appalling actions in the strongest possible terms, and we agree with you that the abduction of these girls is an outrage. The girls were targeted by Boko Haram simply because they wanted to go to school and pursue knowledge, and we believe the United States must respond quickly and definitively,” the Senators wrote. “In the face of the brazen nature of this horrific attack, the international community must impose further sanctions on this terrorist organization. We urge you to press for the addition of Boko Haram and Ansaru to the United Nations Security Council’s al-Qa’ida Sanctions List, the mechanism by which international sanctions are imposed on al-Qa’ida and al-Qa’ida-linked organizations.  Their addition to the List would compel a greater number of countries to sanction Boko Haram, joining several countries, including the United States, which have already done so.”

Senator Murray was joined by all the Senate women in signing the bipartisan letter to President Obama including Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).